News / Middle East

    Syria Tops Agenda at UN Rights Council

    Newly appointed UN-Arab League Envoy on Syria Kofi Annan waves to the media after shaking hand with France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, before the19th session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, in Geneva, February 27, 2012.
    Newly appointed UN-Arab League Envoy on Syria Kofi Annan waves to the media after shaking hand with France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, before the19th session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, in Geneva, February 27, 2012.
    Lisa Schlein

    The crisis in Syria is topping the agenda at the United Nations Human Rights Council, which began a month-long session Monday in Geneva. The session is expected to produce condemnation of the Syrian government's bombardment on civilians during its crackdown on dissent.

    The president of the Human Rights Council, Laura Lasserre Dupuy, kicked off the proceedings by announcing that an urgent session focusing on Syria will take place on Tuesday. She speaks through an interpreter:

    “In the light of the escalating grave human rights violations and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, I have had consultations with the extended bureau… on the practical details… in order to have a constructive debate on this topic,” said Dupuy.

    Syria's ally Russia tried to get the debate postponed. But the Russian ambassador later said the meeting could go ahead, provided it takes place in a de-politicized manner and without written accounts.

    Syria Tops Agenda at UN Rights Council
    Syria Tops Agenda at UN Rights Council


    Iran objected to the emergency session on Syria. But since Iran is an observer state in the rights council, its objection has no weight.

    The president of the U.N. General Assembly said the government siege in Syria must end.

    “Before arriving in Geneva, I visited a number of countries for deliberations with heads of state and governments, where the Syrian crisis was the highest concern discussed due to the flagrant violations against civilians. However, strong will and the necessary momentum are available to continue all efforts for saving lives and protecting Syrian civilians from the authorities’… oppression,” said Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser through an interpreter.

    The U.S. ambassador to the rights council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is being increasingly isolated. She said the international community, however, is continuing to struggle over how to further pressure Assad.

    “The international community is struggling with this topic and I am not going to tell you we have a silver bullet here. I can say we are looking to the leadership of the Arab League as one vehicle and secondly, we are working very hard to convince the other members of the international community, who are choosing for whatever reason to continue to support the Assad regime that they are making the wrong choice,” she said.

    Donahoe also said Russia and China, which vetoed resolutions at the U.N. Security Council aimed at tougher actions on Syria, do not have veto powers at this forum.

     

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora